The Costwolds from Witney

Guided Walking / B&B - 7 Nights

Escape to the country and discover a different part of England

Cotswold street

Next departures:

Key info:

Highlights:

    • Discovering the rich history of Witney in the eastern Cotswolds 
    • From Woodstock, walking through the Great Park at Blenheim with views of the Palace which was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1987
    • The peaceful river Windrush passing Minster Lovell and Burford, described as the Gateway to the Cotswolds

Pricing:

The holiday is offered on a bed and breakfast basis, for the 5-nights. 

Standard double room –  £640 per person for single occupancy

The Cotswolds and Witney:

Escape to the country in Spring 2022 and discover a different part of England. Nestled in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds, Witney is a great base from which to discover the wonderful surrounding countryside. 

Designated an area of outstanding national beauty (AONB) in 1987, The Cotswolds are in the heart of England which is a hilly region reaching 1,083ft or 330m above sea level. The word ‘Cotswold’ immediately brings to mind beautiful villages with buildings made from the golden coloured stone, and a history of the wool trade. The town of Witney lies by the river Windrush in Western Oxfordshire, and it’s the largest Market town within the Cotswolds. The town today is a charming bustling blend of shops, cafes, and pubs not to mention historic buildings which date back to the times when wool was the main industry. Indeed, the name of ‘Witney’ will always be associated with the wool industry and more specifically with ‘Point Blankets’ which were made here and shipped all over the world.

Our holiday is for seven nights at The Blue Boar, which is in the centre of historic Witney. Dinners on the first and last nights are included in the tour price, and on other days the leader will be booking dinner at a variety of local restaurants which you are welcome to join at your own expense.

Join me for guided walks in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds…

Daily Itinerary:

Here is the day-by-day itinerary, click on the day to learn more.

Welcome to Witney, and the Blue Boar. Check-in is from 15:00.

Meet at 16:30 at the pavement in front of the hotel for an introductory stroll (2.5 mile / 1.5 hour) and orientation around ancient Witney. Your guide will introduce you to the town and its rich history. Following this, we will meet at 18:30 again at reception for a briefing about the following day.

The Blue Boar

Distance: 9.9 Miles/ 16km. Ascent/ descent: 1282ft/ 391m

Leaving by local bus, today we head for Chipping Norton which is a thriving Oxfordshire market town of some 6,500 people at the eastern edge of the Cotswolds. The handsome row of buildings along the upper side of its market place suggest a Georgian town, while the town hall and impressive Bliss Tweed Mill in the valley testify to Chipping Norton’s Victorian prosperity and its industrial past. We head out past Bliss Mill over the hill and river Rollright to the village of Salford. Continuing on we use the Shakespeare Way passing by the hamlet of Little Rollright, up to the border with Warwickshire and arrive at the Rollright Stones, a group of Bronze Age remains, and its here we can take a well earned lunch break. We return via Over Norton and to Chipping, with time to explore before returning.

Chipping Norton Sign

Distance: 10 miles - 16km. Ascent & descent 433ft - 131m

Today’s walk starts from the hotel and return by local bus. After a lovely full breakfast, there will be time for you to look around the Saturday market, the largest in the Cotswolds, and pick up a picnic lunch before we depart on our walk. Today we leave on foot at 09:30 and walk beside the river Windrush from Witney to Burford, taking in some scenic Cotswold villages, as well as the fabulous ruins at Minster Lovell. Note: there are options to shorten the walk and return early if you prefer. We will meet at 19:00 again to discuss the following days arrangements, before dinner.

River Windrush

Distance: 9 miles – 14.4km. Ascent & decent 450ft – 150m

For today’s walk we use the local bus again for this 30 minute journey which provides a good opportunity for you to enjoy the scenic surrounding countryside. Our walk starts from the historic town of Woodstock where we do a wonderful 9-mile circular walk in the countryside around Blenheim Park and Palace. The route takes us through part of the Great Park, with views of the Palace and Lake. The walk can be shortened if you would like to visit Blenheim or the Woodstock museums. We finish back in Woodstock and return by bus.

Blenheim Park Bridge

There are no organised activities on this day, but there are many options available to you. There are a few below:  

In case you wanted to visit the great university city of Oxford, there is a bus service from Witney to Oxford which leaves every 30 minutes and takes 20 minutes.

Have a day in Woodstock, you might like to visit Blenheim Palace and the Oxfordshire Museum. It’s possible to get there by local bus or by car.

Kelmscot Manor was the inspirational Cotswold retreat of British textile designer, poet and novelist William Morris. Its only 12 miles from Witney and possible to visit.

Have a day in Witney, visit the Witney Blanket Hall & Wool Museum and Cogges Manor Farm used for the TV series Downton Abbey.

Consult your guide for a full list of local walks and many other options.

Distance: 11.2 miles – 18.2km. Ascent & decent 1043ft – 318m

A classic Cotswold walk. We use our cars today to drive a short distance to the village of Bourton-on-the-Water which is where our walk begins. Bourton, like Witney has the Windrush river ever present with its scenic low bridges and bustling wide streets and makes a great base for the day. Heading northwest, we soon arrive in the village of Lower Slaughter either side of the river Eye, following the river where we pass a working mill, now a tourist attraction. Heading out into ever more scenic territory, we arrive at Upper Slaughter with cottages grouped around a green. We follow the river Eye, then over the hill and back into Windrush Valley and the village of Naughton. The route continues in stunning scenery all the way back to Bourton along the Windrush.

Lower Slaughter Mill

Distance: 10 miles – 16km. Ascent & decent 1256ft – 383m

For the last day we use the local bus service and head for the lovely little town of Charlbury, just 20 minutes away. Our circular walk starts by heading out via the station and through farmland. At Shorthampton we take a break at the All Saints Church which boasts very old wall paintings. The Wychwood forest used to stretch from the river Glyme at Woodstock to the Windrush, the biggest and oldest part of which is our next section on todays walk, through some wonderful woodlands and the deer park in the Cornbury estate. We finish and return by bus to Witney.

After breakfast we say goodbye. 

Before checking out, why do visit the local market which is opposite the hotel. 

Departing frog with suitcase

Please note that if weather conditions are bad, or conditions change locally then it may be necessary to diverge from a part of the programme at short notice. Please be assured that every effort will be made to keep to the advertised programme.

Our Accommodation:

The Blue Boar. 28 Market Square, Witney. OX28 6BH

This former coaching Inn overlooks the market square and dates back to the 17th Century. For 200 years it was called The Marlborough, after the Duke of Marlborough, until 2011 when it was renovated and sensitively restored, and its original name, The Blue Boar, reinstated.

The rooms are all standard, superior and executive doubles which are modern, quiet and comfortable. They have en-suite bathroom, tea/ coffee making facilities, hairdryers, TV and WIFI throughout.

A full a la carte breakfast is available in the restaurant each day. Each evening at 18:30 we will meet in the bar at the hotel, for drinks and an overview of the following day’s walk before going to dinner. 

Dinners:

Our package includes ‘Standard Double’ rooms and a hearty full ‘a la carte’ breakfast. Click here for the menu. 

For dinners you can either make your own arrangements or asked to be included on a group booking at the hotel or one of the many restaurants in town. 

Additional Information:

To book, you may either ring me on 07979 501887 or if you prefer, you can email me julian@wilkeswalks.co.uk and I will get back to you.

You will need to pay a deposit of £100 to secure your place. The final balance will be due 8 weeks before departure.

All payments can be made via BACS. Please ensure you put your surname and initial as a reference.

Account details:

Sort code: 11-03-67

Account number: 13435862

Reference (surname and initial)

This is not an exhaustive list but highlights the main requirements.
Please note, some of the tracks can be boggy after prolonged rain.

Essential Items

  • Waterproof walking-boots, properly worn in and which provide good grip
  • Waterproof jacket and over trousers
  • Rucksack
  • Gloves and a warm hat
  • Water bottle – 1 ltr
  • Sunscreen and sun hat
  • Several layers of clothing – which can be added or removed as required


Recommended items

  • Gaiters – these can be useful after rain
  • Personal first aid kit
  • Sit Mat
  • Specialist walking socks



Optional items

  • Blister kit
  • Flask for hot drinks
  • Walking poles (can be useful)

Getting to Witney:

Witney lies in western Oxfordshire, 30 minutes west of Oxford, just off the A40. The nearest train station is at Hanborough (6-miles/ 15 min drive), on the Great Western Railway Line and one hour from London Paddington. There is a regular bus service from the train station to Witney, stopping just outside our hotel.

Parking:

The Blue Boar does not have a car park. On previous tours we have parked in ‘The Leys’ which is behind the church, this was suggested after consultation with the Witney council. This is a free long-term parking option just 6-minutes’ away from our hotel on foot. Its roadside parking, not a car park. Further information will be sent closer to the time.

There are plenty of free short term parking options nearby. For example, nearby to St. Marys church, just 2 minutes-walk away from our accommodation is ‘The Green’, open for everyone and free of charge. Woodford Way car park is another option close by. A full list of options can be found from the link below:

https://www.westoxon.gov.uk/parking-travel-and-visitors/where-to-park/

Our walks are covered by the following maps. I have copies of these maps to show you each evening in our briefings.

1:25:000. OS Explorer Map 180. Oxford, Witney and Woodstock. 

1:25:000. OS Explorer Map OL45. The Cotswolds: Burford

1:25:000. OS Explorer Map 191. Chipping Norton